The Matobo Hills support a rich biodiversity and form an important catchment for the Shashe-Limpopo river system (one of the two main catchments in Zimbabwe). The Matobo Hills have been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as the region has one of the highest concentrations of rock art in Southern Africa dating back at least 13,000 years. The region has to manage a delicate balance between this cultural heritage, the Matobo National Park itself, private wildlife and tourism areas, commercial livestock farms and subsistence agro-pastoralist areas.
The vast majority of people living in the Hills are subsistence agro-pastoralists with a mean household monthly income of US$80, and a high proportion of households are woman-or child-headed, which often indicates high vulnerability and increased poverty. High poverty levels and unsound environmental practices frequently go hand-in-hand; the Matobo area is therefore a priority location for long-term, community-driven biodiversity management.
All projects carried out by DWT are linked with the Conservation Across Boundaries programme, with the aim to provide and locally-relevant solutions based on sound data to achieve the organisation’s mission. The programme has two prongs: firstly, gathering information through research and consultation in order to identify conservation needs (including livelihood enhancement for people) and secondly, implementing appropriate mitigation and conservation measures to ensure long-term ecosystem health and sustainability.